Our dear friend, Tatiana told us that, newly wed in Austria, she had meticulously interrogated the descendants of the people linked to the Mayerling case.
She had mostly collected testimonies concerning the archduchess that had replaced the empress during her absences.
Who at the time held the position of mistress of the house? Was it one of the daughters of Franz Joseph or the archduchess Maria Theresa? In any case, the archduchess swore that during the last meeting between Franz Joseph and Rudolf, for which the father had called upon the son, everything had transpired as well as could be. A meeting all historians agree had been a dramatic affair, had involved cries of rage and anger, and had ended with Rudolf slamming the door.Upon exciting his office, Franz Joseph had passed his arms around his son’s shoulders in a sort of embrace, an affectionate gesture he had never before displayed towards him. The archduchess was absolutely certain of that fact, as she herself had served tea to the two men at that very moment.
After crosschecking, Tatiana is convinced that during that meeting Rudolf had expressed his regret for letting himself be embarked in this whole Hungarian plot, and Franz Joseph had received him as a prodigal son. Only, Rudolf was caught much deeper into the toils of the plot than his father imagined. Having henceforth abandoned, if not betrayed, his co-conspirators, he realized he was left with no other choice but suicide. He had therefore written those famous letters in which he announced his intention to kill himself. And then at Mayerling he had backtracked. Maybe he had been scared.
Albeit what historians may have claimed, the Prince of Cobourg and Hoyos, Rudolf’s two friends, had not attended the dinner. On the contrary, they had retreated to a pavilion where they resided, away from the main house. There had been many noises of broken china during this dinner. When Rudolf’s body had been brought back to Vienna, this same archduchess was to prepare him.
According to her, the cadaver had been donned with white gloves, filled with cardboard instead of fingers. Said fingers had been sectioned and were nowhere to be found. There must have been a brawl and Rudolf must have fought back.
Driven by curiosity, the archduchess had run back to Mayerling and there, she had seen the dining room littered with broken furniture. On another note, the first thing Hoyos and Cobourg had done after the facts was to hire a carpenter to repair as best has possible the damages and erase all traces of a fight. Most notably, a table had been split in half, maybe brandished by Rudolf in an effort to defend himself against his assailants.
As for the cadaver of his lover, Maria Vetsera, it had been found in a laundry basket, and the mortal wound she had received was not on her temple, as everyone would have it, but on the top of her skull. Those details were later confirmed by the Soviet army, which occupied Austria until the end of World War II and which had unburied her remains.
According to Tatiana, Rudolf had indeed received his co-conspirators for dinner. There, he would have announced his desire to retire from the game. Immediately realizing they were in deep shit they would have gone into a flying rage. They would have first demanded a duel, and when he had declined they had attacked him. He might have attempted to defend himself with the table, explaining the missing digits. Then the co-conspirators killed him. But alas! There was a witness: the young woman, probably hidden in the laundry basket, disposed of with a swift blow to the head.
Tatiana is convinced, as I am, that the Vatican would have never authorized the funeral of someone who had committed suicide. She had heard from the family of the ambassador of Austria at the Vatican, the prince Schwartzenberg, that he himself had spent an entire night deciphering the telegram code sent by Franz Joseph to explain the events to the Vatican. This document has since disappeared from the archives of the Vatican.
All those that had been involved to any degree in this sordid affair, according to Tatiana, had either disappeared or been generously paid off. Up until 1925, the Austrian Republican government was paying a pension to one of Rudolf’s old aide-de-camp living in Constantinople, where he had been invited to delocalize.